I am pregnant with my 6th baby! I love newborn babies and I think if pregnancy were more comfortable for me, I would love being pregnant too. With my last two pregnancies and now this one, I have suffered with some form of Pelvic Girdle Pain or Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction. The pain and discomfort during pregnancy that this causes is at times unbearable. Because I suffered with this pain during my last two pregnancies, I knew what I was up against this time around.
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What is PGP or SPD?
If you’ve never had Pelvic Girdle Pain or Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, let me just lay out the symptoms for you. Basically your body is producing an abundance of the hormone Relaxin to get you ready to have your baby. Because of that, your pelvis starts shifting around in ways that you never knew possible. Most of my pain is centralized right in my pelvis.
The only way to really explain it is to say that the two halves of my pelvis become disconnected just enough that they lightly tap each other as they pass while I am walking. The pelvis halves feel as though they are overlapping when I lay on my side in bed, and it is excruciating to turn from one side to the other. Activities such as lifting one leg up to get dressed, get in a car, or go up stairs feels as though I left that other half of my pelvis a step behind resulting in you guessed it, more pain.
Because the pain can be so intense, I was looking for someone to adequately describe how it feels. I really appreciated this description from What to Expect:
The most common symptom is difficulty when walking and wrenching pain (as though your pelvis is tearing apart).
Have I adequately described this? I have searched for someone to voice how it feels and hope I have done justice to the discomfort this causes. I do this only to bring understanding and relatability to those who are also experiencing this, not pity.
What Can be Done?
I did tons of research in between my 5th and 6th child to try to prevent this pain. I worked on closing up my ab gap (Diastisis Recti), worked out doing lots of HIIT training, and was actually feeling stronger and seeing results! The first part of pregnancy is always rough with morning sickness. I tried to push through and would exercise usually about 2-3 times a week. The Pelvic Girdle Pain started around 12 weeks this pregnancy, and I knew 2-3 workouts a week was not going to cut it.
I was able to drastically reduce my discomfort for the last 12 weeks, and wanted to share some tips to relieve the pain and discomfort with fellow sufferers!
This is the MOST important thing you can do. Exercising every single day. If I take even one day off, it is noticeable. You want to make sure that you are not just getting cardio, but doing specific exercises everyday. Get on Pinterest and search every available Butt, Glutes, Thighs, Legs workout available to you. Basically, if it has a ton of squats, but not a lot of exercises where you have to support yourself on one leg, you are in the right place. You can’t necessarily strengthen your pelvis, but you can strengthen all the supporting muscles surrounding your pelvis.
I love to use Workout Infographics like these from Pinterest:
The workouts I have appreciated the most lately are on YouTube by GlowBodyPT. They are short workouts (like 10 minutes), and require little to no equipment. Here’s one of the videos I did recently.
There, I have just eliminated all your excuses to work out!
Sleeping can be the most difficult. It feels great to lay down, but you can’t breathe well while laying on your back as a pregnant lady. We’ve discussed the difficulty of side sleeping. We talk seriously about buying a recliner for me to sleep in every time. And then we realize that I would just get stuck in that unless I had one of those motorized recliners with the power lift to stand you up as well.
I use a simple body pillow to keep my knees apart while sleeping, and wedge a regular pillow under my back as well. Pregnancy Pillows look amazing, but I’m so tall I wondered if it would actually make it to my knees!
You have to just be patient with yourself. It can take around 15 minutes just to get out of bed in the morning. That is actively physically trying, not just mentally convincing myself it’s a good day to get out of bed. Letting gravity do it’s thing and hobbling around for the first 30 minutes of each day just becomes a normal part of life. I also have to know that anytime I sit down or lay down during the same, it is almost as though I have to start the process all over again.
Planning the day is essential to make sure I am not doing too many physical activities in one day. Grocery shopping becomes a physical activity when you think about pushing the cart with a kid inside and kids hanging on either side as well as the food. Getting in and out of the car to go to the store and come home, and then carrying the groceries in the house. Plan accordingly and don’t do too much or you will totally regret it the next day (ask me how I know).
The Silver Lining
All of this pain goes away (at least for me) within a week of having my baby. That is what gets me through. It must just be the combination of the hormones and carrying a heavy weight on my pelvis for 9 months, but it all goes away. Hopefully you will find yourself in the same boat! In the meantime, try these 3 things and see if they help relieve any of your discomfort or pain!
How do you relieve pelvic pain during pregnancy?